Top 10 things to do in New Zealand

One thing that will surprise you about New Zealand is how many things there are to do here. This country may be much smaller than neighbouring Australia, but with its cosmopolitan cities, rich culture, breathtaking landscapes, luxury destinations and adrenaline pumping adventures, it certainly delivers on fun, relaxation and beauty.

1. Trek the Routeburn Track

One of the biggest things that lures travellers to New Zealand is the stunning scenery and you’ll find some of the best in Fiordland National Park. If walking is your thing, no other area comes close to this stunning national park. Here you’ll find four main walking tracks – Routeburn, Hollyford, Milford and Kepler. Of these, Milford is the most walked, but Routeburn offers a shorter trek and some of the most varied scenery. A camera and good walking shoes are a must here!

Routenburn trek

2. Wander on over To Wanaka

If you want to visit a laid back town to spend some quality downtime, Wanaka should be at the top of your list. One of the most popular ways to spend time here is to book onto the “Siberia Experience”. The experience begins with a spectacular flight over the amazing views of Mount Aspiring after which you will touch down in the break-taking Siberia Valley where you can hike through the beech forest and meadows before you are whisked back to where you started by jet boat. It really doesn’t get much better than that!

Wanaka

3. Swim with the fishes

If you have always dreamed of swimming with dolphins or watching whales, pay a visit to Kaikoura on the South Island. Here you’ll find warm waters that are rich with much marine life including dolphins, sperm whales and the royal albatross. There are many companies offering dolphin encounters with many boats offering food, refreshments and even hot showers.

Kaikoura

4. Get cosy in Blanket Bay

If you are looking for a luxury lodge with a difference, Blanket Bay offers a marvellous retreat situated on Lake Wakatipu. Offering panoramic mountain views, steam rooms, swimming pools, jet boating, games room and an intriguing wine cave, this is one place that will make your trip all the more memorable and relaxing.

Blanket Bay

5. Visit the Abel Tasman coast track

If sandy beaches are your thing, you’re going to love Abel Tasman National Park. This beautiful area offers pristine beaches lapped by cool waters and an abundance of wildlife. Here you can choose to take a gentle stroll or ramp up the pace to a more strenuous climb. If you find you need a little help or the heat is getting the better of you, you can find many water taxi stops along the way that will take you back to civilisation.

The Abel Tasman coast track

6. The sky’s the limit

Want to really mark your NZ trip? How about jumping from a plane? As one of the world’s biggest adventure playgrounds, where better to take your virgin skydive than here? Skydives are surprisingly inexpensive and start at around £76 and there are many places to jump and many companies offering to take you up and ensure you get back down safely.

Sky diving

7. Christchurch is a must

Christchurch is so many different things all at once. Offering a great place to sleep off the jetlag whilst also offering an abundance of culture, vibrancy and fun, a stop in Christchurch is an absolute must. Make Hagley Park, the magnificent Botanical Gardens and the Christchurch Art Gallery top of your to do list.

Christchurch

8. Surf and soak in Coromandel

For the best fishing, swimming and surfing around, the Coromandel Peninsula offers it all. In fact, one of its provinces, Whangamata is known as the “surfing capital of New Zealand.” For a beautiful walk, head to Hahei and head to Hot Water Beach where you can make your own thermal spa in the hot sands.

Coromandel

9. Plan a Milford Sound expedition

One of the most breathtaking road journeys you can take in New Zealand is along the State Highway 94. Steep valleys, towering mountains and dense forest await you in this captivating region set on the southwest side of the South Island, but nothing can prepare you for what comes next. At the end of the road lies Milford Sound, one of the most beautiful fiords in the world with Mitre Peak rising majestically out of the water. Boarding a boat will take you 10 miles out to sea where seals, bottlenose dolphins and penguins can all be spotted.

Milford Sound

10. Hit the slopes

With its clearly defined seasons, New Zealand lends itself perfectly to hiking during the summer and outstanding skiing during the winter. Some of the best places to ski in New Zealand include The Remarkables, Coronet Peak and Treble Cone or you might like to take a helicopter out for some dramatic black run skiing on some of the best backcountry runs.

Skiing

Daniel Abrahams is Co-founder and CEO of MyTravelMoney.co.uk.

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Comments (4)

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  1. HansGolden says:

    I think the title should have been, “Top 9 Things to do on NZ’s South Island” because if my NZ geography is correct (based on several weeks of planning a trip to NZ), all of these except one (Coromandel) are on the South Island. While the South Island does seem to outshine the North, there are some cool things to do in the North as well. Two articles would have been lovely. In any case, great article that made me reconsider some of my itinerary choices! Nice work.

  2. Alison says:

    Not sure that I would include Chch on this list, considering that the majority of the city consists of construction work, car parks and traffic cones at the moment. I agree that Hagley is pretty, but not worth a detour when there are some far superior towns & cities to visit – notably Wellington & Mt Maunganui in the North Island

  3. Susan Fogwell says:

    Milford Sound is one of my favorite spots on the South Island. I stayed in Queenstown for two weeks and drove to Milford Sound a few times. The fjords are a staggering sight to behold. Put this stunning place on your bucket list!

  4. Rebecca says:

    New Zealand is one of my favourite places in the world, I hope to return one day and spend a bit longer soaking it up than the post-uni 4 weeks I allowed myself.

    Wanaka was surprisingly lovely. After a day of adrenalin and adventuring, a must-do is to visit Wanaka’s Cinema Paradiso – an old-fashioned picture house with old comfy sofas and seats from various modes of transport: think watching the latest Mission Impossible film whilst sat in an old Morris Minor, or strapped into the seats of an aeroplane. A bar and kitchen serves drinks and meals before, during and after the film for a real comfortable, homely experience.

    After spending 3 months backpacking and living in a car, this was a real respite! Next time I managed to return, it will (hopefully) be more of a luxury experience.

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